Buddy Squirrel opens factory to the public for annual Easter open house

ST. FRANCIS -- Easter is right around the corner, and with that in mind, Buddy Squirrel/Quality Candy Factory opened its doors to the public for its annual Easter open house event Sunday, March 25th.

This event allows people to see how the candy is made, and of course, free samples were available!

Joan Swiezynski was one of those taking advantage of the open house Sunday with her family. "Got to love the eggs! It's always fascinating to see how people make stuff and how they package it. It's a good learning experience," Swiezynski said.

Jim Bartelt said he has attended the open house for nearly 20 years, and Sunday, he shared the experience for the first time with his nieces and nephews. "It's fun for the kids, but I think it's more fun for me! Eating all the candy after it's made is my thing," Bartelt said. Bartelt said it's fun to see people grow up right in front of him and seeing how they change every year. "I see them every year, and they get taller, and some of them were teenagers when they started, and are bringing their own children in now," Bartelt said.

The open house draws nearly 4,000 people every spring. Everyone in attendance walked away with their very own whipped cream egg.

Mike Staral was one of those mixing the ingredients Sunday, and after 25 years, he said it never gets old! "We make probably 200 different types of candies. We make about seven different flavors of whips now. Who doesn't love candy?" Staral said.

Rodney Brown spent Sunday making the popular cheese corn. "When you let the kids go through the barrel and turn and spin it, it's kind of fun seeing their eyes light up," Brown said.

The open house serves as a way to say 'thank you' to the many people who have supported the brand in its nearly 100-year history. "We carry that tradition on because we are proud of our Milwaukee heritage and everybody working here is proud of where they are," Buddy Squirrel/Quality Candy manager Jay Brown said.

Buddy Squirrel officials say Easter is the busiest time of the year, with Christmas a close second.